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Sabo v. Horvath

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Citation. 22 Ill.559 P.2d 1038 (Alaska 1976)

Brief Fact Summary. In this case, Lowery conveyed the same five-acre parcel of land twice. Once to the Appellee, William Horvath (Appellee) and his wife Barbara Horvath (Ms. Horvath) and secondly to the Appellants, William Sabo and Barbara Sabo (Appellants) both by quitclaim deed. Lowery’s interest in the land comes from a United States Patent under the “Alaska Homesite Law” and Lowery’s conveyance to the Appellee and Ms. Horvath was made prior to the issuance of the patent, whereas the deed to the Appellants was made after the issuance of the patent. The Appellee and Ms. Horvath recorded first and was prior to patent and title, thus was “outside the chain of title.”

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A purchaser only has notice of recorded interests, which are within his “chain of title.” The rule in most jurisdictions, which have adopted a grantor-grantee index system of recording, is that a “wild deed” does not serve as constructive notice to a subsequent purchaser who duly records.


Facts. In this case Lowery conveyed the same five-acre parcel of land twice. Once to the Appellee and this wife Ms. Horvath and secondly to the Appellants both by quitclaim deed. Lowery’s interest in the land comes from a United States Patent under the “Alaska Homesite Law” and Lowery’s conveyance to the Appellee and Ms. Horvath was made prior to the issuance of the patent, whereas the deed to the Appellants was made after the issuance of the patent. The Appellee and Ms. Horvath recorded first and was prior to patent and title, thus was “outside the chain of title.” The Appellee and Ms. Horvath sued the Appellants to quiet title and the Appellants counter-claimed to quiet their title. The lower court ruled that Lowery had an equitable interest capable of transfer at the time of the Horvath deed and further, that the deed to the Appellee and Ms. Horvath contemplated more than mere quitclaim, but warranted that patent would be transferred. The lower court also ruled that the Horvaths h
ad the superior claim due to the prior recording, which was considered constructive notice to the Appellants under the Alaska Recording Statute. The Appellants appealed.

Issue. The Court stated three issues:
Under the Alaska Homesite Law, when did Lowery obtain a present equitable interest in land, which he could convey?
Are the Appellants, grantees under a quitclaim deed, “subsequent innocent purchasers in good faith”?
Is the Horvaths first recorded interest, which is outside the chain of title, constructive notice to the Appellants?

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